It’s the single biggest television event of the year — the time when sports fans, casual fans, and even non-fans gather, eat and celebrate the wonders of football. And between the pre-show, what feels like hours of commercials, an elaborate half-time event, and the post-show, they do actually play a football game. But there’s one aspect of Super Bowl Sunday that generally gets less attention — and that’s everything else on TV.
Since the mid-’90s, there’s a tradition for the network that snags Super Bowl broadcast rights. They generally air an extra-exciting episode of a popular series — one that’s often designed to appeal to fans and newbies alike. In the past few years, series like Friends, The X-Files and The Office have aired after the game — and each has enjoyed a big ratings boost.
But other networks also still deliver quality post-Super Bowl programming — after all, the show must go on. If you’re looking for something to watch after Super Bowl 50 wraps up, here are five TV shows that should do the trick.
1. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
CBS is making history this year with its post-Super Bowl programming. For the first time, the network is airing a talk-show — The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Since taking the reigns from David Letterman in September, Colbert has proven himself as an entertaining and often thoughtful late night host. But he frequently trails behind Jimmy Fallon when it comes to drawing in viewers. So this is a strategic choice for CBS — a chance to grab Colbert’s target audience and remind them how awesome he is.
Colbert’s guests during the hour-long episode will include Key & Peele, Suicide Squad’s Margot Robbie, SNL-alums Tina Fey and Will Ferrell and FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly. And probably lots of jokes about what we saw during the game. So the post-Super Bowl edition of The Late Show should include a little something for everyone.
2. Billions (Showtime)
This new Wall Street drama from Showtime is steadily gaining fans. And unlike other networks, which tend to air re-runs during and immediately after the Super Bowl, Billions will be all-new on Sunday night. The series stars Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, a U.S. district attorney who’s only mission is to bring down slippery hedge-fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis). The fourth episode of Billions, “The Short Squeeze,” will air at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime.
3. The Puppy Bowl (Animal Planet)
If you’re still craving a little football action after Super Bowl 50 lines up, Animal Planet has you covered. Of course, the game they offer is a little warmer and fuzzier than what we’ll witness when the Panthers and Broncos face off. The Puppy Bowl is a long-standing tradition — both as an alternative to the game, and as an enjoyable side dish. It’s exactly what it sounds like — puppies playing football. And it’s good for a few laughs — especially if you need to blow off some steam after the game’s inspiration is over. The Puppy Bowl will air all Sunday night on Animal Planet.
4. Shark Tank (ABC)
The ecstasy of victory, the agony of defeat. We witness it every year during the Super Bowl — and every week on ABC’s cutthroat reality series, Shark Tank. The episode they’re airing after the game is a rerun. But with a mix of humor and competition, this series about investors fielding pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs could be a perfect nightcap for Super Bowl 50 viewers who want to skip out on other offerings.
5. The Walking Dead (AMC)
Didn’t see enough guts and glory in Super Bowl 50? Here’s a solution: Zombies. To help drum up enthusiasm for its mid-season premiere on February 14, AMC is airing a Walking Dead marathon on Super Bowl Sunday. By the time the game is over, they’ll be halfway through the series’ second season — but you can still tune in and catch up with your favorite characters and kills.